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Cloned Animal Products to Hit Shelves?

The FDA nears approval of food from cloned animals.

With the support of new data that indicates food products from cloned livestock pose no threat to consumer health, the Food and Drug Administration is expected to decide by the end of the year allow the sale of meat and milk from cloned livestock, a Washington Post article reports.

The FDA released its first document stating that humans can safely eat clones and their offspring in October 2003. Since then, advocates have lined up for and against the approval of cloned animal products.

The issue now seems to be tipping in favor of cloning advocates, at least on a policy level. "Our evaluation is that the food from cloned animals is as safe as the food we eat every day," says FDA chief of veterinary medicine Stephen F. Sundlof.

Some companies and farmers have expanded their operations since the 2003 FDA report, hoping to cash in when the FDA approves their products. Proponents of cloning say it would bring unprecedented consistency and reliability of products.

Opposition to cloning, led by the International Dairy Foods Association, managed to delay FDA approval until further research could be conducted. Much of the opposition was organized by food companies that were wary of how consumers might react to products from cloned animals.

Part of the new push towards approval of clonal products comes from two new studies showing products taken from clones were no different from products taken from non-cloned animals.

Sundlof expects to release a formal risk assessment by the end of the year, and after a period of public comment, products from cloned animals may start showing up in stores.

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